M & M Cookies

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M&M Cookies – for Easter

This is one of those recipes I make over and over again. It is a family recipe that figures largely in my history of the holidays, especially Christmas. Though this is an any time cookie. The main reason is because it uses vegetable shortening, so no need to deal with getting butter to room temperature. I just had to buy spring M&M’s – I mean it is a limited time, right? They are kind of cute – ugh.

1 cup crisco
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs vanilla
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups M & M’s plain (11.40 ozs) really nice spring colors (read: Easter egg colors)

Sift together, over a piece of waxed paper, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Cream together crisco and both sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture to the egg mixture. Stir in M & M’s. Scoop onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Dead Simple. My favorite kind of recipe.

Notes: a 11.40 ozs bag is a bit more than one and a half cups. But I usually just dump them all in the cookies. This time I mixed in one cup and topped each cookies with the extras trying to make them pretty. For nice spring colors. Yes, I did this and it is nothing like me at all. Nope. But they were pretty.

Meyer Lemon Bars

Yep, Lemons for Easter. I just cannot help myself. It is citrus season, at least here (i.e. in Florida). My own little Meyer Lemon Tree, as I have said before, is a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree sort of lemon tree. This year it gave me my biggest crop ever – 3 Meyer Lemons. Sounds paltry, but I’ve raised this baby from barely a seedling to something that produces fruit and I feel a strong, but undeserved, sense of accomplishment. I think we (me and the tree) are about ten years in now.

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Meyer Lemon Shortbread Bar

Meyer lemons are just so lovely. I have waxed poetic about them before. It is blooming right now for the next season and I need to take photos as the year goes along. The deluge this past week, I hope, will help, but I’m not sure. We will see. The Meyer lemon blossoms smell like orange blossoms. So nice …. There is just nothing like that.

Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
Ice cold water

Filling:
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbs Meyer lemon zest – 1 Meyer lemon
3/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Topping:
3 Tbs confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan, line with parchment to overlap all the edges and spray the parchment too.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. Pulse a few times to mix. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water, one tsp at a time until dough comes together. Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan, pressing against the edges.

Bake crust for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden. Golden on the edges seems to be the key.  Set pan on a wire rack and cool for about 5 minutes. Reduce oven to 300 degrees.

Whisk eggs and sugar for filling until well combined and lighter in color. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, and a pinch of salt. Pour topping over warm crust. Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until set at the edges but still a little bit wiggly in the center.

Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely.  Remove by lifting parchment. Cut into squares. Dust with 3 Tbs of confectioners’ sugar.

25 March 2016 – Good Friday – For Easter with the family.

Source: Epicurious

Notes: This is the first time I have used this recipe.  So I’m using my treasured Meyer lemons on a total gamble. Probably not smart, but what the hell. You cannot keep them forever. No matter how much you would like to.

I pushed the crust into the bottom, but I really felt like I needed to push it up the side like you do with a graham cracker crust for pie. But I am glad I followed the recipe. Though I was worried that the lemon curd part would leak down and make a whole mess if it. But it did not. I think the key thing here is have the correct sized pan. Because it worked and was, thanks to my home-grown Meyer Lemons, just slightly stupidly amazing. Even if I do say so myself. And yes, yes, I do.

Easter Planning

Holy cow. Easter will be here before you know it. Sorry – this year the early food holidays have just stacked up way too much. Super Bowl Sunday smashed into Mardi Gras – literally. I’m not kidding. Two days apart.

I understand that Pi Day will always fall right in line with St. Patrick’s Day.  There is no denying the calendar on that one, but they are fixed points – unlike Mardi Gras and Easter – thank you Hebrew calendar for keeping us on our toes.

I am thinking something with lemon. But that seems to be something I do a lot.  Or Asparagus. Or fresh herbs. I won’t go all crazy and say I’ll make lamb, because I won’t. I at least know myself well enough to know that will not happen. Ham, also, will not be in my future. We’re just not big fans.

What is really strange to me is I do not remember any big food traditions for my family for Easter. I’ll have to ask my dad, but no, I’ve really got nothing.

We always dyed eggs (Paas and vinegar are always linked together in my brain), had great Easter baskets, went to church, did the egg hunt thing. But that is all I remember.

Either way, I am going to have to come up with something for Easter dinner this year

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Carrot Cake is just so tempting for Easter.

. Carrot Cake seems to be a repeating element. But, I think I am going back to my original idea –  lemons. Yep. That is what I’ll do. No surprise really.

Tomorrow is Good Friday, so I best decide.

Happy One Year

I have an unworldly ability to handle issues. I do well under pressure. I do really kind of enjoy it. This time last year, I was unflappable.

I do get bored with an everyday kind of thing. I guess that’s why events work always appealed to me. When it all starts to go to hell, I seem to be at my best. Yes all the chairs are out for a big thing and then it rains. Who dries the chairs – me, but that’s part of the job and it’s what I do.  Think graduation at a major university in a football stadium with no rain plan – oh hell yeah. Bring it. Too bad my commencement speakers were both pervs (who knew at the time? not me).

The MotH* had a major heart attack last year – on Good Friday (4/18), no less. I was fine, until I came home and did the looking on the google and realized what we (he) had been through. Wow. I’m not even sure what to write now.

I was fine while everything was going on, but after the fact, it was difficult to realize how close we came to being parted forever.   The MotH is still with me and is really fine now. I’m not sure I deserve to be so lucky, but I thank all that is holy that I am.

*Man of the House – my wonderful husband.